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Keeping the Whole Care Triangle Connected with a Client and Family Portal

Published on May 31, 2023 by Sharon Morrisette

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Running a home care business can often feel overwhelming, trying to juggle the demands of finding and retaining qualified caregivers, scheduling and coordinating the caregivers you do have, navigating and maintaining regulations and compliance, keeping on top of records and documentation, managing costs, billing and payroll, maintaining client and family satisfaction, and so on. 

At times, it can feel like a never-ending battle to keep on top of everything – and keep everyone happy – on a daily basis.

What if we told you it doesn’t have to be this way?

What if we told you that you could save yourself and your entire team an enormous amount of time (and cost), reduce everyone’s stress levels, improve client and family satisfaction, increase caregiver retention, streamline operations, AND enhance the quality of care you deliver with one simple solution?

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, you don’t have to just take our word for it! Forward-thinking home care providers have already invested in this tech solution and are seeing great results across numerous business operations. They’re reaping the many benefits of seamless communication and improved care coordination between their office staff, caregivers, clients, and clients’ families.

The magic bullet? Smartcare’s home care client and family portal.

What is a client and family portal?

A client and family portal – sometimes called a “relatives’ gateway” – is a secure, HIPAA-compliant online portal accessible via a computer, tablet, or mobile device. 

It provides a centralized location where a host of information can be safely stored about each client’s home care provision, including their care records, schedules, medication management, activity calendars, details of caregiver visits, payments, and so on. 

This information is available to view 24/7 by those who are given access. Typically, authorized users will include the client and selected family members, the designated caregiver(s), and the home care agency. At Smartcare, we call this the whole care triangle.

While it serves many purposes, one of the best features of a client and family portal is that it enables clients and their families to stay connected and informed, in real-time, about the home care being delivered. As such, a family portal is especially well-suited for relatives and friends living at a distance (or limited in other ways from making regular in-person visits themselves), as it promotes transparent and inclusive care, increases engagement, and provides peace of mind that a loved one is receiving the quality of care they require.

As well as accessing information about the home care being provided, clients and families can also communicate and interact via the portal – typically through secure messaging – between themselves, their caregivers, and the home care agency.

What are the benefits of a home care family portal? 

A client and family portal can be accessed by the whole care triangle, meaning it benefits not only clients and their family members but also your caregivers, office staff, and your bottom line.

Benefits for home care providers

With Smartcare’s complete care platform, the client and family portal is integrated, delivering numerous business benefits for home care providers, including:

  • Improved client, family, and caregiver engagement – increasing satisfaction, retention, and referrals
  • Greater transparency, helping to build and maintain trust between all parties
  • Significantly reduced number of calls (and complaints), freeing up more office staff time
  • Improved recognition of your talented caregivers
  • Increased quality and consistency of care being provided
  • Enhanced communication and connection for better care coordination
  • Convenient location to store and access everything in one place safely  
  • Streamlined operations, saving administration time and cost
  • An additional channel to promote additional or augmented services – along with relevant health programs and education
  • Improved care outcomes

Benefits for caregivers

Doctor going through results and medication on tablet with senior patient

Mobile-friendly, caregiver-facing tools are typically tethered to client/family portals. These can significantly boost engagement and job satisfaction by making your caregivers’ day-to-day tasks easier, quicker, and more fun. 

Benefits for your caregivers include:

  • Access to timely, accurate, and comprehensive information needed on-the-go, from anywhere at any time
  • Better communication between all parties in the care triangle, improving care coordination and continuity
  • Secure messaging, minimizing the burden of manual and paper processes 
  • Access to view, coordinate, and amend visit schedules easily
  • Reduced need for costly micro-management, increasing caregiver autonomy
  • Improved collaboration, building trust between caregiver teams and clients/families
  • More impactful involvement in client’s self-management plans, including medication management
  • Time efficiency, meaning caregivers get to spend more time on the aspects of the job they love – i.e., focused, high-quality time caring for clients
  • Instant feedback on visits and service quality to inform future training and development opportunities

Benefits for clients and their families

husband and wife using a tablet

Keeping your clients and their families happy and satisfied is vital to the success of your home care business. Satisfied clients can positively affect retention, reimbursement, and clinical outcomes and impact your referral network – helping your business to grow. 

With clients/patients being at the very center of the home care they receive, a client/family portal is one sure way to meet this need and further boost satisfaction. It not only ensures your clients have a greater say in their treatment and care but also respects their preferences regarding who has access to their health information.

Further benefits your clients and their families can experience, at crucial touch points with your agency, include:

  • Convenient access to up-to-date care details, including care plans, visits, schedules, and medication
  • Improved communication and transparency about a loved one’s care, bringing peace of mind to families (especially those living at a distance)
  • Access to secure messaging with the rest of the care triangle, providing essential support and reassurance
  • Enabled emergency calls for fall incidents
  • Options to easily request/change scheduled visits or access enhanced services, as clients’ care needs change
  • The ability to provide feedback on care visits and caregivers, rating their experience 
  • Increased consistency and quality of care, enhancing patient safety and satisfaction
  • Access to billing, invoicing, and payment details to keep track of spending history
  • Access to educational materials specific to each client’s needs, care, and condition
  • 360-degree satisfaction tracking, improving client-caregiver matching and outcomes
  • Improved engagement, increasing satisfaction, and retention 

It’s also been shown in several studies that client and family portals contribute significantly to the mental health and well-being of clients and their family members.

Smartcare Software’s Client and Family Portal

family portal smartcare software

With their many amazing business benefits, it’s no wonder that client and family portals are becoming an indispensable tool for home care providers. 

Savvy clients and their families are already starting to seek out home care providers that offer this valuable tool as part of their home care package.

Choosing a home care software package that includes an embedded client and family portal like Smartcare is not only a great marketing opportunity to attract more clients but also an ideal way to safely store and access everything in one place (i.e., care plans and documentation, scheduling, billing, etc.), meaning less work for you and your team.

Smartcare’s client and family portal has been carefully crafted to enhance caregiver and client engagement, experience, and overall satisfaction. It provides convenience, ease of use, privacy and security, quality, and high value – including Smartcare Voice Assist. 

One of its additional benefits is that it allows you to set up access for different users based on the specific features and information they require. For example, if a family member only wants to view information about the care their loved one is receiving, or only needs access to financial information in order to pay the bills, these options can be easily set up (and then updated as users’ needs change over time).  

At Smartcare Software, we understand home care businesses, their challenges, and the opportunities available to them. As a result, all our software tools are designed specifically for home care businesses to help improve their efficiencies and deliver bottom-line growth.

We work closely with each of our clients to understand their particular business needs so we can create a unique site that optimizes their business operations and delivers the results they’re looking for.

If you’d like to see how easy it is to use our software tools to streamline operations and start growing your business, please call our experienced team today or request a free demo.